Database preview: form guide to the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prixby Peter Higham on 22nd November 2018
Your preview to the final round of the 2018 Formula 1 season in the United Arab Emirates
Yas Marina hosts the 10th Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel sharing the record for the most wins in the UAE with three apiece.
The 2018 drivers’ and constructors’ titles may have been settled but the circuit has staged the title decider on three occasions – 2010, ‘14 and ‘16.
Hamilton has started and finished inside the top two for the last four years and has scored podium finishes in two-thirds of the Abu Dhabi GPs held so far; Vettel has scored points in all-bar one such race and was third for the last two years.
Valtteri Bottas won last year’s race from pole position, only losing the lead during the pitstops, as well as setting the fastest race lap. He qualified and finished third for Williams in 2014 – his only other points score here.
Bottas has to win on Sunday to avoid becoming the first Mercedes driver to endure a winless season in the turbo-hybrid era.
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Fellow Finn Kimi Räikkönen won the 2012 Abu Dhabi GP for Lotus-Renault, prompting his “leave me alone, I know what I’m doing” radio communication with his engineer. He started that race from fourth on the grid, which is the only occasion when the winner has not started from the front row. Indeed, the last three polesitters have gone on to win the race.
Both Force Indias started and finished in the top 10 last year. Sergio Pérez has scored points for the last five years and has finished all seven of his Abu Dhabi GPs to date. His former team-mate, Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg, has finished in the top seven for the last four editions of the race and has started seventh each year since 2015. In contrast, team-mate Carlos Sainz is yet to score a point here in three attempts.
Neither Max Verstappen nor Daniel Ricciardo have scored a podium finish here and lap nine of Ricciardo’s 2016 race is the only time either of them have led across the line here.
Fernando Alonso has only led three laps in Abu Dhabi – second in 2011 and 2012 have been his best results.
Stoffel Vandoorne (twice), Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Sergio Pérez have all won the GP2/F2 race at Yas Marina.
Of course there won’t be rain this weekend, with temperatures edging towards 34deg C on track, and teams have a choice of either supersoft, hypersoft or ultrasoft tyres.